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An Album of Mary

Sidney Callahan

author, educator, psychologist

Mary is the Mother of God. The truth revealed in this Marian title astounds me. A woman bears God within her womb. God unites the Divine Word with human flesh. When we think of God as Mary's newborn infant, we see the Lord of all creation in need of human love. Jesus is totally dependent upon his mother's care. What risks God takes in loving us! And how much God expects of humankind in bringing the new creation to birth! Mary is the first to know the humility of God.

Patt Shea
screenwriter, president of Catholics in Media

I remember the life-sized, blue-and-white statue of Mary in church from my grammar school days. The second grade sat in the front right section of the church, and I would stare at the statue, hoping and praying it would move—just a little—to show that Mary knew I was there. The image of that statue with Mary's outstretched hands stayed with me for years: Mary, my mother, my protector. For me, Mary will always be the symbol of the mother who protects and cares for her children.

Jean Frisk,

Schoenstatt Sister of Mary
Marian scholar

Mary is my favorite magnifying glass through which to see the beauty and marvelous mystery of God who is love. In Scripture, Mary is a woman never isolated. Every word and image finds her a relational person, a person who loves powerfully, irresistibly, wholeheartedly. But to look at her from afar or simply as a model would indeed isolate her from the family intended by Christ. She is here, now, with us. She is actively present with the power that love gives. She is part of the communion called saints.

Elizabeth Bookser Barkley
educator, author

"Is that all?" I used to wonder as I searched for Mary's words in the Gospels. Now, in mid-life, it is that very silence that I find appealing. Few people know how to listen. My friend Peg does. When I am with her, I am the focus of her attention and her listening. When I speak, her eyes follow mine, as if she is connecting with my soul. She hears more than my words. Mary must have been the same way. Being totally present to "the other," she had little need of words. Mary, the listener, speaks volumes to me.



Celebrating Mary

The 20th International Mariological-Marian Congress in Rome September 15-24 will be yet another highlight of the Jubilee Year for John Paul II, the pope whose devotion to Mary is inscribed in his coat of arms—Totus tuus, always yours. The celebration of the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus is, by definition, a celebration of Mary, says the Holy Father: "It was in her womb that the Word became flesh! The affirmation of the central place of Christ cannot therefore be separated from the recognition of the role played by his most holy Mother."

The Congress theme is "The Mystery of the Trinity and Mary." As in the past, there will be a focus on ecumenism and mutual understandings among Christians about Mary as the spiritual Mother who intercedes for all of humanity. Participants in the Congress will include Orthodox and Protestant Christians as well as Catholics.

A special round-table discussion will center on the relationship between Mary and the Trinity as understood and expressed in various cultures. Parishes in Rome have been invited to organize theatrical presentations, concerts and other celebrations dedicated to Mary.



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